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Ukrainian seafarers and dockers meet in solidarity

3 November 2017

An ITF forum in Odessa, Ukraine brought together Ukrainian seafarers and dockers along with trade union representatives from Ukraine and Germany. The International Forum of Solidarity between Seafarers and Dockers was organised by the Marine Transport Workers’ Trade Union of Ukraine (MTWTU) with the German trade union ver.di.

About 100 MTWTU members took part, representing dockers from seven Ukrainian ports and seafarers working on board vessels covered by ver.di agreements – MTWTU and ver.di have a memorandum of understanding enabling Ukrainian seafarers working on ver.di-covered vessels to take full advantage of MTWTU membership benefits.

The event aimed to identify common problems and find ways to address them at national and international levels. It covered joint solidarity action and mutual support to ensure enforcement of labour rights. One issue covered was the pressure from shipowners on seafarers to perform the work of dockers and cut costs by expecting them to carry out cargo lashing and other dockers’ work. Participants also covered the role of strikes and solidarity actions between ITF affiliates.

Torben Seebold, head of ver.di maritime department and vice chair ITF dockers' section commented that: “Strong workers will never be defeated when we stand together…Collectivism is the answer where companies are trying to take away our interests.”


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